Readers in Denver may or may not know that the U.S. Supreme Court recently repealed the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). With the striking down of this law, marriage in the United States is no longer strictly defined as between a man and a woman. This means that same-sex couples who are legally married in states that recognize gay marriage will now be afforded the same types of benefits as those granted to opposite-sex couples by the federal government.
While may legal marriage and divorce issues have been made less complex by the Supreme Court’s recent decision, other family legal issues remain just as complicated as before. Among the issues that will not be greatly affected by the repeal of DOMA, child custody disputes will still face many of the same obstacles. In some cases a non-biological parent may be determined to be a parent figure and could be granted parental rights such as visitation rights, while in other cases they may not be. The DOMA decision has reportedly made it an easier process for same-sex couples to divorce and divide assets, however, determining child custody.
It was not reported whether federal laws would see further changes, or if lawmakers would consider creating uniform standards for child custody cases involving same-sex couples. Currently, many of the decisions are often left up to the discretion of judges and the courts that preside over these cases.
Consulting with an experienced lawyer may be helpful for anyone who is involved in a child custody dispute. An attorney will not only help to look out for your interests, they are also available to answer your questions or address any concerns that may arise.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, “Supreme Court simplifies gay divorce”, Quentin Fottrell, June 26, 2013